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10/8/1990 (26 y, 4 m, 13 d)
2009 June Amateur Draft - Round: 3, Pick: 13, Overall: 93, Team: Texas Rangers
$0.5M / 1 Years (2016)
Erlin (elbow) is targeting a return around the All-Star break this season, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. (2/3/2017)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Insofar as he made just 14 appearances during the 2012 regular season, Robbie Erlin probably didn't have the best season of all minor-league pitching prospects. Insofar, however, as he was thoroughly dominant for all the appearances he did make, Erlin merits some attention. In 60.2 innings between Rookie ball and Double-A (although mostly the latter), Erlin posted an 80:16 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 22-year-old left-hander, who was acquired in the deal that sent Mike Adams to Texas, doesn't have overwhelming velocity (he sits at about 90 mph), but has demonstrated excellent command of the fastball and his impressive curveball at all levels. A relatively unsettled Padres rotation might create an opening for Erlin -- if not to begin the season, then at least to earn a mid-season promotion. (
The Quick Opinion:
Limited to just14 appearances during the 2012 regular season, Erlin was excellent when he did pitch -- and carried that over to the Arizona Fall League, which circuit he also dominated. A relatively unsettled Padres rotation might create an opening for Erlin, who has given every indication that he's ready for it.
At some point in his career, prior to his trade from Texas to San Diego, Erlin became overrated. There's absolutely nothing wrong with him as a player -- he projects to develop into a number four starter at the big league level, and could possibly produce more like a number three for a few years in his prime -- but he's not the impact arm that some people are expecting. He's an undersized lefty who posted some solid numbers in the low minors because he overpowered inexperienced players with his four-pitch repertoire as well as his above-average command and control. He struggles to create a downward plane on his pitches so he works up in the zone too much and is susceptible to the long ball -- something that is a little less of an issue in his spacious home park. (Marc Hulet)
The Quick Opinion:
Erlin could be a solid arm (with a little upside) to round out your pitching staff in NL-only leagues and he should be more valuable while pitching at home than on the road. His big league rotation is suddenly crowded.
In 2012, at spring training with the FanGraphs crew, I met Robbie Erlin's father. He was sitting in the stands watching his son's new team play, and I felt like telling him that I thought his son was a fantasy sleeper that year. He smiled and nodded. His son didn't pitch in the major leagues that year. The next year, I once again circled Erlins' name, based on minor league walk and strikeout rates, and major league park. He pitched 50+ innings with the Padres that year, and they were unspectacular no matter if you judged them by whiffs, walks, or grounders. Maybe that's unfair -- his trademark command had actually traveled with him to the majors (6.6% walk rate). I acknowledged that his sub-90 mph fastball might not be enough to make the nice change/curve/command combo hum, but not to his father because that would be rude. 2014 brought much of the same, and so now it's hard for me to recommend Erlin too heartily. Especially now that he's probably sixth or seventh on that depth chart. So file this name away for the deeper leagues, and remember that, if he's gets called into the role, he does actually have a good change and curve combo, he does have great command, and he has recently made a change to his fastball mix (more high fourseamers) that could help make the whole package play up. If Mike Fiers can happen, Robbie Erlin still has a chance. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
It's not a good fastball. But Robbie Erlin has everything else that it takes to succeed, and still pitches at home in San Diego, so he deserves a kind eye if the investment required is low and the available talent in your deep fantasy league is unexciting.
Back in his time in the lower minors, Erlin posted some pretty healthy strikeout and walk rates. But those numbers never translated to even Triple-A, and they haven't translated to the majors either. His walk rate has been good, but the package deal of the strikeouts and few walks has not translated to good results. Erlin saw little of the majors last year, and in 125 Triple-A innings he only had a strikeout rate of 18.7%. He has only managed a 15% soft hit rate (league average is 18.6%) -- a below average strikeout rate and a seeming inability to generate weak contact are not a good combo. If you were making the case for Erlin you'd point to his control and a decent changeup, but that's not enough on it's own. He'll be in the mix for San Diego's fifth spot in the Spring, but getting it will be tough and holding it could be tougher. (Brett Talley)
The Quick Opinion:
Erlin has displayed good control at every stop, but the strikeouts haven't shown up anywhere past Double-A. Good control and a decent change does not alone a good starter make, so it's hard to trust Erlin to win the fifth spot in San Diego in the Spring. Even with a rotation spot, he doesn't have much fantasy upside.
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Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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